Top 10 pension tips

Pensions

Julie Hutchison

14th September 2015 at 3:44pm

Changes to pensions in April now mean you have more choices. With certain types of pension, you can choose what to take and when, after you turn 55, but lots of people still wait until their 60s before they touch their pension savings.

Watch our 10 pension tips to help you have more control over your pension savings.

Find lost pensions

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#Pension Tip 1

If you’ve lost track of any pensions, get free help to trace them online at Gov.uk. The website you need is on screen now.

With some estimates saying that the average person will have 5-7 job changes during their adult working life, it’s easy to see how you might pick up a few pensions along the way and lose track of what you have. This tends to happen if you move house and forget to write to your pension provider.

The first step to taking more control over your pension savings is to get a really clear picture of what you have and where, which might mean finding a pension you’ve lost track of.

Bring your pensions together

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#Pension Tip 2

If you have several pensions, it might be worth bringing them together to keep an eye on them and manage them more. Check whether it’s suitable for you. Some pensions come with guarantees which you might want to keep. There’s more information about tidying up your pension plans on www.standardlife.co.uk. Check out the ‘Transfer my pension’ page.

Maximise your workplace pension

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#Pension Tip 3

If you have an employer, make the most of your workplace pension. Your employer may match some of what you pay in and if you can save a bit more, it all adds up. This is one of the key things which can boost your pension savings since you are not the only one adding to your pot, your employer can help too.

Don’t forget tax relief

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#Pension Tip 4

Don’t forget about the tax relief top up.  For every £80 you save into a pension, the tax man adds £20.  And if you pay tax at 40%, you could claim a tax refund for the extra tax relief if you file a tax return.  Tax relief is another boost to your pension to help you build savings for the future.

Plan your inheritance

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#Pension Tip 5

Plan who inherits your pension.  It’s now easier to pass on pension wealth since the 55% tax charge has been abolished.  Some pensions can be inherited free of tax.

Did you know that your Will doesn’t usually control who inherits your pension.  It’s normally down to your pension provider who will look at your beneficiary nomination form when deciding who to pay your pension savings to.  It’s also vital to keep your beneficiary nomination form up to date as your circumstances change.

You can fill in a form or go online to do this.  You can register for online services with Standard Life Savings if you don’t already have access to view your pension online.  details of how to do that are on screen now.

Online servicing and apps

Check your investments

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#Pension Tip 6

Check how your pension savings are invested to see if the investments still suit you. What you chose 10 or 20 years ago might not suit you now.

You don’t need to pick individual shares for your pension, you can choose a ready made fund which has already been put together.

If you need help, speak to an expert to get information.

Move your ISA into your pension

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#Pension Tip 7

If you’re approaching retirement and have an ISA or other savings, it could be worth moving them into your pension to make the most of the tax relief top up. This blog on www.standardlife.co.uk has a case study of someone who moves their ISA savings into their pension in the run up to retirement, showing the impact of tax relief.  This won’t suit everyone but could give your pension savings a boost if that’s your priority.

Should you move your ISA into your pension?

Beware of scams

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#Pension Tip 8

Be aware of pension scams.  The new pension flexibilities also give fraudsters more opportunities.  Be wary that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Be on your guard if you receive text alerts of cold calls about investment opportunities to liberate your pension savings. The pensions regulator website has more information about what to watch out for and it’s on screen now.

Pensions regulator website

Think about your retirement plans

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#Pension Tip 9

Think about how you might want to access your pension savings in retirement.  You’ll have a choice of cash, keeping savings invested, drawing a flexible income, (called drawdown), buying a fixed income (known as an annuity) or a mix of these options.  The new flexibility open up more choice and could enable you to be semi-retired earlier, which could open up new possibilities for you. With consultancy work, travelling or hobbies that you might want to pursue.

Don’t feel rushed into a decision and do use the Government’s new Pension Wise service for free.  With guidance online, on the phone or face to face. The contact details for Pension Wise are on screen now.

Use tools to explore your options

 

pension awarenss day 2015 logo

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#Pension Tip 10

There are lots of online tools to help you plan your pension savings.  Our retirement calculator helps you to explore your options and you can find this at www.standardlife.co.uk 

Retirement Calculator

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A pension is an investment. Its value can go up or down and it may be worth less than you paid in. Investment returns aren’t guaranteed.  Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This blog and any responses are not financial advice.